Local authority waste bosses from around the country have written a joint letter to Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, in an attempt to emphasise that the UK is in danger of falling short of 2020 landfill targets.
The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT), to whom the letter is attributed, has warned that the current waste and recycling data used by government is outdated, and requires urgent review to prevent the UK falling further behind on its waste and recycling objectives.
ADEPT say that by using obsolete figures and statistics to determine key policy, investment and infrastructure decisions, the UK could find itself facing ‘crippling landfill fines’ in years to come.
This is not the first time that ADEPT has been critical of Defra, having previously criticised the decision to pull waste credits from three PFI projects in February this year.
President of ADEPT and strategic advisor at Cheshire West and Chester Council, Steve Kent, said: “Current data is showing that more waste is being collected by local authorities across the country, recycling rates are flattening and residual waste levels are on the rise. Those factors, combined with a gap in the amount of waste treatment capacity coming on stream in the next few years, should be ringing alarm bells in Whitehall that the UK’s strategy to stop waste being sent to landfill might be in danger.
“ADEPT is not convinced that Defra has given these latest trends proper consideration when it comes to assessing the country’s future waste treatment needs, in a situation where it is already not certain that the 2020 requirements will be met”
“In our view, the government is relying on trends in household waste that have been recorded during the most difficult economic conditions since the war. There is now growing evidence that those trends are simply a medium term adjustment and that as the country starts to return to growth and our population continues to increase, the UK will simply be ill prepared to manage its waste properly.
“ADEPT is not convinced that Defra has given these latest trends proper consideration when it comes to assessing the country’s future waste treatment needs, in a situation where it is already not certain that the 2020 requirements will be met. That is why we are calling on the Government to review the situation urgently to provide reassurance that the UK can meet its European Landfill Directive targets in seven years time.”